Pupils earn success at school and a luau party


May 10, 2002|By Peg Adamarczyk | Peg Adamarczyk,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MORE THAN 250 pupils from Chesapeake Bay, George Fox and Marley middle schools eagerly filed through the doors at Kurtz's Beach on Tuesday. The kids were ready to chow down, relax and have fun as their reward for successfully competing in the educational challenge created by County Councilwoman Shirley Murphy and the Business Advisory Board for Pasadena Schools.

The contest, in its second year, provides a school-day field trip to a Hawaiian-style luncheon as an incentive for pupils to improve their grades. To get more young people involved this year, Murphy and her crew expanded the contest to include those who made the principal's honor roll and those with perfect attendance.

Two lunchtime luau dates, Tuesday and May 28, were scheduled.

Tuesday's luncheon honored pupils with perfect attendance from the start of the school year through April 11 and those who had raised their grades by one letter grade in three of four academic subjects -- language arts, math, science and social studies -- during the third marking period, Feb. 4 through April 11. The lowest grade acceptable to be included in the contest was a C.

As an incentive to work harder, pupils who raised their grades in all four academic subjects were promised a luxurious round-trip ride to Tuesday's luncheon in a stretch limousine.

Of the 3,605 pupils enrolled at the three middle schools, a select group of 18 met the ultimate challenge and was whisked away by limo to Kurtz's on Tuesday.

This year, Chesapeake Bay Middle School had the largest contingent of achievers, with nine pupils qualifying for the limousine ride. Those riding in style were Wayne Black, Cynthia Kreckman, Kelly Martin, John Walton, Andres Garcia, Shane Sirkel, Michael Willsey, Dustin Bateman and Heather Dodson.

At George Fox Middle, six lucky pupils got the star treatment: Corey Wilkes, Renee Luedtke, Kelsey Koontz, Chase Russell, Shauna Seeley and Nichole Dunleavy.

Marley Middle pupils Kayla Clark, Ryan Nolan and Nathan Cmiel earned the luxury ride.

The Hawaiian luncheon featured plastic leis, island-style foods and entertainment by Paki from The Magic of Hawaii dance troupe and Tess Nakamoura from Hawaii Aloha Dancers.

Ann Abruzzo of Zaker Vending, co-chairwoman of the event, was enthusiastic about the response from the pupils and the local business community to the expanded contest this year.

"Without the help from the business community -- John Mason at Kurtz's for giving us two luncheon dates, Gail Hyser from Wilson Bus Lines, Ruth Brooks from Brooks Bus Company, Rick Beyer from Aloha Limousine, plus so many others -- we would not have been able to have the contest again this year," Abruzzo said.

The middle-schoolers shared Abruzzo's opinion about the contest and luncheon.

"It's great," said Jeff Tucker, an eighth-grader at George Fox.

J.R. Munoz, a sixth-grader at Chesapeake Bay, waited in a long line to get an autograph from Baysox player Tim Raines Jr. "I'm having a great time," he said.

Dave Johnson, former Baltimore Orioles pitcher and master of ceremonies, added his message. "All you can do is show up every day and do your best," Johnson said. "There will be successes and failures along the way. But if you really want it, go for it."

A second luau, for pupils making the principal's honor roll for earning straight A's during the third marking period, is scheduled for May 28.

Limousine transportation will be provided to those straight-A pupils who also have perfect attendance for the past three marking periods.

Murphy could not be happier about the outcome of the contest. "We did not know how many students would make the grades, but when the numbers arrived, I was ecstatic," she said. "Now what do we do next year to top it?"

Congratulations to the 510 winners, their parents and teachers. And remember, if you did it once, you can do it again next year.

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